January 2007


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Jill Erisman <[log in to unmask]>
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Jill Erisman <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 19 Jan 2007 10:20:17 -0500
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Hi Rose,

I'm so sorry to hear that Lady is not doing well. Though it does sound 
as though maybe there is a hip problem, the other symptoms you described 
make me think that maybe it's spinal and perhaps system failure with the 
bowels and kidneys. Though trouble urinating could also be kidney 
stones. I suggest a possible spinal issue because my German Shepherd had 
degenerative myalopathy (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). Basically, some 
lines of German Shepherds start having degeneration of the spinal cord 
from midback down. Onset starts at about age 7. To watch an affected dog 
move, one would think it was hip dysplasia. If I hadn't had her hips 
x-rayed prior to the onset, and armed with the knowledge her breeder 
will not breed anything with even slightly questionable hips even if 
they pass OFA certification, I would have thought she had hip problems. 
To my knowledge, a genetic marker has not been found yet and it's not 
sure if the cause is genetic, environmental, or dietary. The late onset 
means affected breeding dogs have already been used for breeding before 
the symptoms arise.

On the other hand, if it is her hips, the pain there would make bowel 
movements uncomfortable due to how they arch their backs and flex their 
hips to defecate. Hip issues will cause trouble for a dog to walk, get 
up or down, take steps or even get in and out of any vehicle.

As for treating the pain, there are many holistic options. Supplements 
of glucosamine and chondroiton sulfate are excellent and completely 
safe. My favorite source (which I used for my gsd, my collie, and my 
boyfriend's 13 year old husky mix) is SpringTime Inc 
( They have products for dogs, horses, and 
people. Another supplement is Duralactin, which is a milk based product 
that works great and dogs love the chewable tablets. I used this on my 
gsd and the husky mix to great results. It is available at some of the 
better pet supply stores, your vet should have it, or you can order 
online from many pet supply catalogs. My favorite place online is KV Vet 
Supply (

I hope this helps. Please keep us updated on her.